- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 20, 2011

ARKANSAS

Attorney says suspect in slaying delusional

LITTLE ROCK | - A lawyer for a man accused of killing a soldier outside an Arkansas recruiting center says his client drove through three states looking for someone to attack after seeing video of U.S. military action in the Middle East.

Abdulhakim Muhammad faces the death penalty if convicted in the June 1, 2009, death of Pvt. William Andrew Long. The defense team says Mr. Muhammad is mentally ill, but prosecutors and the accused deny it.

Defense attorney Patrick Benca said Wednesday that Mr. Muhammad was delusional when he went looking for someone to attack two years ago. He said the accused initially drove to a Kentucky recruiting center, but it was closed, so he drove to Nashville, Tenn., and then all night to Arkansas.

HAWAII

WWII-era skull discovered at Pearl Harbor’s bottom

HONOLULU | An excavation crew recently made a startling discovery at the bottom of Pearl Harbor when it unearthed a skull that archeologists suspect is from a Japanese pilot who died in the historic attack on Dec. 7, 1941.

Archaeologist Jeff Fong of the Naval Facilities Engineering Command Pacific described the discovery to the Associated Press and the efforts under way to identify the skull. He said the early analysis has made him “75 percent sure” that the skull belongs to a Japanese pilot.

He did not provide specifics about what archaeologists have learned from the skull, but said it was not from one of Hawaii’s ancient burial sites. They also contacted local police and ruled out the possibility that it’s from an active missing-person case, said Denise Emsley, public affairs officer for the Naval Facilities Engineering Command Hawaii.

The items found with the skull provided some clues: forks, scraps of metal and a Coca-Cola bottle Mr. Fong said researchers have determined was from the 1940s.

KENTUCKY

Anthony lookalike used at fair’s dunking booth

LEXINGTON | Organizers at a Kentucky carnival have shut down a booth in which a Casey Anthony lookalike taunted fairgoers to dunk her

The Bluegrass Fair is sponsored by the Lexington Lions Club and the dunking booth had been promoted on social media. The Lexington Herald-Leader reports the Lions Club cited “growing public sentiment” in deciding to close the game Tuesday.

Some viewers of Miss Anthony’s televised murder trial were outraged after the Florida woman was acquitted this month of killing her 2-year-old daughter.

Fair Chairman Ron Mossotti said an event management company presented the idea of the dunking booth in which the lookalike sat on a platform labeled “innocent” and fairgoers aimed for a target labeled “guilty.”

Mr. Mossotti said most people laughed, though some found it tasteless and tacky.

MASSACHUSETTS

Officials: Cloudy pool shouldn’t have opened

BOSTON | Massachusetts officials say a murky state-run swimming pool where a woman’s body went unnoticed for two days should not have opened the day she drowned.

Edward Lambert, commissioner of the Department of Conservation and Recreation, said Wednesday that three employees were asked to resign for their roles in the decision to open the Fall River pool despite cloudy water.

He released preliminary findings of an investigation into the June 26 death of 36-year-old Marie Joseph.

Investigators say surveillance video showed Miss Joseph going down a water slide into the deep end, surfacing briefly before going under with no struggle. Her body was found floating two days later.

Fall River Mayor William Flanagan told the Associated Press that a city health inspector who checked the pool has been fired.

MISSISSIPPI

‘Glitch’ left suspect in priest’s death free

WAVELAND | A man accused of murdering a Catholic priest at a Mississippi beach house might have been in jail at the time of the killing if it weren’t for a mixup between the state’s prisons and court systems.

Records show Jeremy Wayne Manieri was placed on probation earlier this year for failing to register as a sex offender and never reported to his probation officer when he got out.

That could have had him back in jail this month when a 70-year-old Louisiana priest was shot at a retreat in Waveland. Mr. Manieri was caught near Florida’s Disney World the day after the Rev. Edward E. Everitt’s body was found.

Mississippi prisons spokeswoman Tara Booth said Wednesday that a computer glitch kept Mr. Manieri’s probation officer from getting the right paperwork.

NORTH CAROLINA

Shark bite critically injures girl off coast

OCRACOKE | A 5-year-old girl is in critical condition after a shark attack off the North Carolina coast.

Cyndy Holda of the National Park Service told WNCT-TV that the child was bitten on the lower portion of her right leg and a foot around 5:30 p.m. Tuesday on Ocracoke Island.

Miss Holda said the girl was swimming with a boogie board in shallow water with her parents when she was bitten. The girl was flown to Pitt County Memorial Hospital.

A National Park Service spokesman said the last shark bite along the Cape Hatteras National Seashore was reported off Avon in 2001, when a man died from his injuries.

NEW YORK

Mobster ‘Vinny Gorgeous’ gets second life term

NEW YORK | A mobster already behind bars has received a second life sentence for ordering a gangland slaying while taking control of a New York City crime family.

A federal judge sentenced Vincent “Vinny Gorgeous” Basciano on Wednesday in Brooklyn.

The former boss of the Bonanno crime family was found guilty in May. The same jury decided to spare him the death penalty last month.

The government’s case relied on the testimony of former Bonanno boss-turned-cooperator Joseph Massino.

Massino was the highest-ranking member of the city’s five Italian crime families ever to take the witness stand for the government.

He had secretly recorded jailhouse conversations with Basciano about the killing that were played at trial.

Basciano once owned a Bronx hair salon called “Hello Gorgeous.”

WYOMING

Official: Highway may have failed in only minutes

CHEYENNE | Engineers say a large section of Wyoming highway where four Colorado family members plunged to their deaths may have totally collapsed in a matter of minutes.

Bruce Burrows of the Wyoming Transportation Department said engineers are studying what happened to state Route 130 over South Brush Creek early Tuesday morning.

He said preliminary assessments indicate the creek swollen with rain and snowmelt may have undermined the roadway over some hours and then gouged a 25-foot-wide, 9-foot-deep hole in a matter of minutes.

A family from Colorado Springs fleeing a nearby campground plunged into the gaping hole and was swept downstream, killing a woman and her three young daughters.

Their husband and father, Alex Constantinides, was the only family member to survive.